Okeechobee City Council hears mid-year budget review

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee City Council discussed the 2017-2018 budget mid-year review as well as possibly appointing a magistrate in lieu of the Code Enforcement Board at the Tuesday, May 15, regular meeting.

At the Tuesday night meeting, May 15, Okeechobee City Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. (right) presented a certificate to project coordinator for Okeechobee County School District for Children’s Mental Health System of Care project Leah Suarez (left) and clinical director of Hibiscus Children’s Center Kelly Chapman (center) proclaiming the month of May as “Mental Health Awareness and Trauma Informed Care Month” in the city. Photo by Matteo Tullio.

The council was presented the 2017-2018 mid-year budget review by finance director India Riedel. Overall revenues are higher than last year’s receipts to date. City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca said, “Overall at mid-year the city is in a very good financial position. Although we had to increase our expenditures with projects, such as the school resource program, we have had offsetting revenues as well. Currently at mid-year, we are almost 7 percent under our current budgets. Operation budget is as expected with a few exceptions based on increased need. A proposed budget amendment, which was approved immediately following the budget review presentation, changed the Fiscal Year Ending Fund Balance from $3,791,159 to $3,732,032, a difference of $59,127 to adjust for the state mandated School Resource Officer requirement.”

Okeechobee City Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. presented a certificate to Leah Suarez, project coordinator for Okeechobee County School District for Children’s Mental Health System of Care project, and Kelly Chapman, clinical director of Hibiscus Children’s Center, proclaiming the month of May as “Mental Health Awareness and Trauma Informed Care Month.”

In an open an public hearing proposed Ordinance No. 1167 was approved – which reclassified approximately 1.06 acres west of Taylor Creek between Northeast 13th and 14th Streets, from single family residential to commercial.
In business actions at the Tuesday meeting:

• The reading of proposed Ordinance No. 1166 was approved with a final public hearing date set for June 5, regarding the Abandonment of Right-Of-Way Petition No. 18-001-AC, submitted by Joy Kidwell of JMK of Okeechobee, Inc., to vacate the 15-foot wide alley that runs north to south in the 1300 block of U.S. 441 North.

• Additionally the reading of proposed Ordinance No. 1168 was approved with a final public hearing date set for June 5, regarding Rezoning Petition No. 18-001-R, submitted by William H. Mason, to reclassify approximately 1.06 acres west of Taylor Creek between Northeast 13th and 14th Streets, from single family residential to light commercial.

• The council’s final act of business was the deliberation and recommendation of replacing the code enforcement board with a magistrate in its stead. Administrator Montes De Oca stated, “We at the city strive to be as cooperative as possible to our residents and would continue to do so with our code officer. The magistrate system however in lieu of the Code Board, as directed by the council, may be a more efficient alternative means for enforcement and compliance.

 

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